Melker triumphs in GP3 opener

Nigel Melker took victory in the GP3 season opener at Istanbul Park after going from third to first with an impressive opening lap

Melker triumphs in GP3 opener

The RSC Mucke driver picked off slow-starting polesitter Tom Dillmann (Carlin) at the first corner, and instantly picked up the chase of race leader Andrea Caldarelli (Tech 1).

Melker grabbed the lead by passing Caldarelli around the outside of Turn 12 at the end of the backstraight, and would hold on to the lead until the finish.

Caldarelli failed to capitalise on a mid-race safety car period - caused after Lewis Williamson collided with Leonardo Cordeiro and rolled at Turn 12. Williamson had been recovering from an early spin when he tried to pass MW Arden team-mate Mitch Evans for sixth on the opening lap, but he and Cordeiro clashed under braking at the end of the backstraight and the Briton's car rolled at relatively low speed when it reached the gravel.

But the bunching up of the field did not cause Melker any problems, as he made a good restart and crossed the line with a gap of 1.2 seconds to the snoozing Caldarelli.

The Italian then closed up again in the final laps, but Melker held his nerve to take victory.

Behind them, Dillmann spent the whole race defending from ART's Valtteri Bottas, and he held on to take third.

Antonio Felix da Costa (Status) climbed from 10th to fifth on the first lap and stayed there until the end, while behind him there was a bit more action.

Evans lost sixth place to Alexander Sims after the restart, but he got the place back on the penultimate lap as Sims's pace dropped.

The Briton then had his hands full defending from Addax driver Dean Smith on the final lap, and as the pair scrapped into Turn 12, Mucke's Michael Christensen was able to get past them both to take seventh.

Results - 15 laps: Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Nigel Melker RSC Mucke 28m13.773s 2. Andrea Caldarelli Tech 1 + 0.605s 3. Tom Dillmann Carlin + 2.942s 4. Valtteri Bottas ART + 3.840s 5. Antonio Felix da Costa Status + 4.410s 6. Mitch Evans MW Arden + 7.214s 7. Michael Christensen RSC Mucke + 10.608s 8. Alexander Sims  Status + 11.713s 9. Dean Smith Addax + 11.928s 10. Gabby Chaves Addax + 19.559s 11. Nico Muller Jenzer + 23.673s 12. Zoel Amberg Atech CRS + 24.192s 13. Nick Yelloly Atech CRS + 24.977s 14. Ivan Lukashevich Status + 26.180s 15. Aaro Vainio Tech 1 + 26.354s 16. Tamas Pal Kiss Tech 1 + 27.239s 17. James Calado ART + 27.507s 18. Matias Laine Manor + 29.871s 19. Simon Trummer MW Arden + 30.222s 20. Dominic Storey Addax + 30.644s 21. Conor Daly Carlin + 31.336s 22. Pedro Nunes ART + 32.066s 23. Maxim Zimin Jenzer + 53.931s 24. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Manor + 1m03.096s 25. Vittorio Ghirelli Jenzer + 1 lap Retirements: Rio Haryanto Manor 13 laps Luciano Bacheta RSC Mucke 8 laps Leonardo Cordeiro Carlin 3 laps Lewis Williamson MW Arden 3 laps Marlon Stockinger Atech CRS 1 laps 
shares
comments
Dillmann beats Sims to GP3 pole

Previous article

Dillmann beats Sims to GP3 pole

Next article

Sims dominates GP3 race two

Sims dominates GP3 race two
Load comments
From zero to hero: How F3's 2021 champion bounced back Plus

From zero to hero: How F3's 2021 champion bounced back

After a disastrous 2020 in FIA Formula 3 with Hitech, Dennis Hauger began to doubt himself - with the self-belief he had built through success in junior series evaporating. But after regrouping, he stormed to the F3 title in 2021. Here’s how he did it

FIA F3
Oct 6, 2021
How Campos Racing has bounced back from its devastating loss Plus

How Campos Racing has bounced back from its devastating loss

After the sudden death of its founder in January, Formula 2 stalwart Campos Racing was left facing its hardest season to date. But new team boss Adrian Jr is determined to honour his father’s legacy and has returned the team to its winning ways

FIA F2
Sep 20, 2021
How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived Plus

How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived

After a chaotic 2020, marred by the coronavirus pandemic, the FIA brought in radical changes to Formula 2 and 3. But less than 12 months later, there are talks of them being reversed after all did not go to plan…

FIA F2
Sep 9, 2021
How the latest 'son of' youngster found his feet in F3 Plus

How the latest 'son of' youngster found his feet in F3

After a promising start to his single-seater racing career, life in the Formula 1 feeder series gave Jack Doohan a reality check. But, following a year of learning and toiling, the driver with one of the most famous surnames on the Formula 3 grid isn’t feeling the weight of expectation pushing down too hard on him any longer

FIA F3
Jun 30, 2021
The Monaco win that started another triple crown Plus

The Monaco win that started another triple crown

30 years ago, victory in the Monaco Grand Prix-supporting Formula 3 race – then a showpiece invitational event – began a young Jorg Muller’s pursuit of a unique set of street circuit wins that he’d later complete at Macau and Pau

FIA F3
May 21, 2021
How two F3 stars face new challenges from very different perspectives Plus

How two F3 stars face new challenges from very different perspectives

ART Grand Prix team-mates Frederik Vesti and Juan Manuel Correa's paths to the 2021 FIA Formula 3 Championship grid couldn’t have been further apart, but both are using the same focus for different goals

FIA F3
May 5, 2021
Why Correa's return is the feelgood story racing needed Plus

Why Correa's return is the feelgood story racing needed

Juan Manuel Correa has had a long road to recovery from that horrific day at Spa in 2019. ART's decision to give him his race return in FIA Formula 3 in 2021 is a victory in itself, but his determination will surely - in time - have him fighting for bigger things

FIA F3
Feb 2, 2021
Why Piastri's F3 title was better than results suggested Plus

Why Piastri's F3 title was better than results suggested

F3 rookie Oscar Piastri only just snatched the 2020 title with Prema Racing, but the setbacks he overcame to do so suggest that Renault's next Australian talent is one destined for the top

FIA F3
Jan 12, 2021